Happy May! OK, so this post is a bit late to the table (I can only apologise) - my Blogger Network projects are always done, dusted and written up for the start of the month.... but this one didn't exactly go to plan. 

My aim for this month was to make a dress - Simplicity 1699 in fact - but, well, I've got some place mats to show you instead! I'm trying to be optimistic about it because this month's post fabric features gingham and strawberries in abundance. It's pretty much Wimbledon in fabric form...

Now, I absolutely love the pattern I had intended to show off this month. It's from Simplicity 1699, which has a dress, peplum top, jacket and trouser pattern included (talk about a good deal). 

I was originally going to make the dress but then decided I'd actually rather try the peplum top, as I've never made one of those before. Unfortunately I just did not get on with the end result! The pattern is lovely and has some great features - I really like how the peplum is made and the little cap sleeves and collar are super cute.... but I just don't love it on me. I definitely think it's my fabric choice...

The fabric is a gingham and strawberries cotton poplin print and it's incredibly soft, a little like a cotton lawn. It's great to work with and would look awesome made into an apron, tea cosy or tablecloth... for this style of dress or top though? Not so much! Winnie seemed to manage it in a dress here and Jane made a lovely holiday bag from it here.

I had good fun matching up the stripes in the pattern but I think it's just too overwhelming for such a feminine garment. What do you think...?

So, to avoid calling it a total disaster, I decided to use my remaining fabric to make something completely different - table mats! This fabric is calling out to be used in a country kitchen and I wish I'd listened to my instincts in the first place. How cute do they look now? 

I love how they're a bit nautical-come-Wimbledon and the little gingham cutlery pockets are just my favourite. The pattern for the mats comes from the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing and they really are a joy to make.

I actually already own a set of place mats just like these - you can see that post here - so I'm not sure whether I'll keep the new ones for myself or hand them out as a gift. I think they'd make quite a nice wedding present for one of the summer weddings I’m invited to this year!

Do you ever have a great idea in mind that just doesn't turn out quite how you expected? Or have you ever experienced a fabric/dress pattern clash like I did? I love to learn from my makes but it's always disappointing when things don't turn out quite as planned. Bring on my next make is all I say!